Crisis, what crisis? Having masterminded the slickest of away wins as Arsenal punished Reading 5-2 at the Madejski last night, Arsene Wenger can banish the Valley Parade debacle from memory and look forward to the season with renewed vigour. Or can he?
How much can we read in to this latest result? Reading’s performance was disgraceful. A team totally devoid of confidence, with even less ambition and a game plan as basic and predictable as you are likely to see. One could imagine Gary Neville rolling around the studio in fits of laughter as time and time again Arsenal exposed Reading down the flanks just as he had predicted half an hour prior to kick off.
Yes, Arsenal played well. Cazorla was immense and deserved his hat-trick. Podolski a different player all together from the one that appeared in Bradford just a week ago and Walcott dragged Reading’s centre halves all over the park. Renewed calls this morning for Walcott to be given a run up front no doubt, but could you imagine him having as much joy against the likes of Kompany and Toure or Vidic and Ferdinand?
Six against Southampton, five against ten man Spurs and another five against Reading show Arsenal are a team that can really turn on the style – when things are going well. As most top sides do, when Arsenal sense blood they go for the kill. The difference between top sides and Arsenal is how they react in adversity, when their backs are against the wall. This Arsenal however, are still far off proving they have the resilience to challenge at the top once again.
Another tough away day to come on Saturday lunch time at the DW and one would expect Martinez’ Wigan to offer a much sterner challenge than the test handed to the Gunners on Monday evening. Will Arsenal secure back to back away wins together for the first time this season and prove that the crisis was in fact a mini slump? The jury Arsene, is still very much out.
By David Carns